Star Trek: The Next Generation
Air date: 10/12/1992
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Alexander Singer
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
Every once in a while, the Trek franchise will stop for a moment and indulge its inner fan for a Very Special Episode that reflects upon its mythos. The most obvious way of doing this is to bring aboard TOS characters — something it did in the pilot episode (McCoy), season five's "Unification" (Spock), and would later do in Generations (Kirk) and even Star Trek 2009 (Spock again, in the rebooted alternate timeline). There seems to be an aura of legitimacy that bringing TOS forward into the future seems to bestow upon the latter-day mythos. It's a uniquely fascinating construction: Some of the actors were still playing the parts off and on even when this aired in 1992, but the time frame between TOS and TNG made the fictional TOS characters a piece of decades-old history.
In "Relics," we get Scotty, who is found having been suspended in a jerry-rigged transporter beam on a downed vessel for the past 75 years. In that time he hasn't aged a day. His ship crashed on the surface of a mythical Dyson Sphere — a massive sphere constructed by an ancient society around a star. The Dyson Sphere has a diameter equivalent to Earth's orbit around the sun. Whoa.
"Relics" is a good title, because it not only describes the mysterious Dyson Sphere, but gets to the heart of Scotty's dilemma, where he wakes up to find that he's become mostly irrelevant. Technology has moved on, most everyone who knew him is dead, and when he tries to help out in engineering, he becomes such a nuisance that Geordi finally snaps and tells him that he's in the way. (Picard, ever the wise, recognizes Scotty's plight, and appeals to Geordi to take one for the team and find a way to help a former Starfleet officer be useful again.)
Yes, the episode lays on the nostalgia fairly thick. Sometimes it is too broadly played, with a few too many examples of Scotty saying he was doing this, that, and the other while your great-grandfather was still in diapers. (One of the problems with James Doohan's take on Scotty in general is that the affects of the character are at times so overpowering that he edges close to cartoonishness.) But the scene that really works in "Relics" is when Scotty recreates the original Enterprise bridge on the holodeck. It's a terrific homage, made all the better because it's grounded in believably nostalgic dialog between Scotty and Picard about old glories that cannot be recaptured. (Scotty's drink with Data also has an elliptical quality; Data's line, "It is green," borrows from a TOS drinking scene Scotty appeared in decades earlier.)
If there's a problem with "Relics" — and I must regretfully admit that there is — it's that, apart from the holodeck sequence, the storytelling can be too earnest for its own good, and without the benefit of digging as deep as it perhaps might have. There's also an abundance of forgettable technobabble — probably a symptom of this particular period in TNG's run while also being a symptom of putting two chief engineers in the same room for long stretches of time. And I felt the awesomeness of the Dyson Sphere, a fascinating sci-fi concept, was never adequately realized. (The visual effects of the time reveal their limitations, and the sphere ultimately becomes a means to an end to supply a routine jeopardy plot.)
Still, I want to be clear that this is a pleasant and even admirable example of the Very Special Episode. It understands its characters, gives them a personal story worth telling, and uses them to drive the plot. If it doesn't achieve greatness in the process, well, so what?
Previous episode: Man of the People
Next episode: Schisms
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124 comments on this post
Mon, May 28, 2012, 3:08am (UTC -5)
Great story overall though and as Jammer says the Dyson Sphere is an awesome invention, well realised on screen.
Mon, May 28, 2012, 10:21pm (UTC -5)
Wed, May 30, 2012, 12:33am (UTC -5)
Thu, May 31, 2012, 11:32pm (UTC -5)
Have realised that I have been following your reviews (even of Andromeda) for nearly 15 years which brought me to a juddering halt and gave me an intimation of my own mortality! Delighted you're back at it and remember Handlen has to go through at least five seasons of DS9 and seven seasons of Voyager (at least) before he equals your longevity !
I'd say this is worth 3.5 stars, whilst I recognise James Doohan's performance, especially The scenes with Burton were hit and miss, it still resonates. the interaction ( or lack thereof) between Worr and Scotty and the scenes with the ensign providing Scotty with quarters are excellent, so for pure nostalgic feel, this is one of season six's better offerings
Looking forward to the remainder of the reviews, and you remain the true 'No.1' for Real Star Trek fans!
Fri, Jun 1, 2012, 3:06am (UTC -5)
Mon, Jun 4, 2012, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
THAT is what has always bothered me about this episode--Picard is an amateur archeologist who can wax rhapsodic about a clay pot for hours and when a real, live relic appears he is too busy?
Geordie will build old ships and talk to a hot hologram for days but can't spare a moment for the GREATEST ENTERPRISE ENGINEER ever?
And don't tell me the Dyson sphere was urgent--damn thing wasn't doing a damn thing until much later.
If a random person from 75 years ago suddenly appeared in our midst, he/she would be the most talked-about person on the planet--the most feted, celebrated individual in many years.
But on the Enterprise they are too busy? FAUGH!
Scotty is brilliant and wonderful in this--and I love the nods to the past, especially "How long will it really take you?" so I put the failure here solely on the writers. They threw in completely erratic character traits for the others, so this did not ring true.
Seriously--SCOTTY had to "prove" himself useful before they appreciated him? That's a big 'ol pile of steaming plop out the back end of a bull.
And all that being said, Scotty's conversation with Picard on the original Enterprise is indeed moving and touching, one of the best moments ever.
Just don't expect me to believe that every crew member on that ship wouldn't be clamoring for time with Scotty! Phooey.
Wed, Jun 6, 2012, 10:11am (UTC -5)
the only one in voyager i cared for was quark in the pilot.
Wed, Jun 13, 2012, 11:06pm (UTC -5)
"Relics" is one of my favorite eps from Season 6, due to the idea of the Dyson Sphere, and of course, Scotty. Anytime they feature ancient advanced civilizations, it's the best!
It would be interesting to note what reviews would keep their ratings, and which would decrease over time. It would also be fun to compare notes with fans that watched the shows when they aired, versus new fans today. I suspect as long as the props or cgi don't give away their age, many Star Trek episodes tell universal stories. Anyone watch TOS remastered - does it help the shows compensate for their age?
Thu, Jun 14, 2012, 4:49pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jun 14, 2012, 7:41pm (UTC -5)
I've said this before in various ways, but the reviews are as much a product of their time as anything. I can certainly point to episodes that I would view (and rate) differently if I saw them today. That's just a matter of the fact that times have changed and so have I.
That being said, there is, to a certain degree, a closed universe that each of these shows lives in. When I watch TNG today, I find myself entering into "TNG mode." I think of the shows in terms of who I am today and what I know, but I also do not forget what it felt like to watch them 20 years ago and how they were a product of their time, as all things are.
It all probably swirls around my brain and finds a balance. Who's to say how much of it gets factored in either way as I'm writing a review today of something I remember from 20 years ago.
I don't bother changing old ratings because at a certain point the review should just stand for what I thought at the time. I stand by most of what I wrote and most of the ratings. Some things I might change if I were writing them today. But I'm not writing them today, so that's pretty much all there is to it.
Tue, Jun 19, 2012, 7:27am (UTC -5)
I don't bother changing old ratings because at a certain point the review should just stand for what I thought at the time. I stand by most of what I wrote and most of the ratings. Some things I might change if I were writing them today. But I'm not writing them today, so that's pretty much all there is to it.
So, just for fun, if someone put a gun against your head and told you to pick a Trek episode rating your current self disagrees with the most, what would it be? :)
Thu, Jul 19, 2012, 1:59pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 22, 2012, 4:40pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Oct 22, 2012, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jan 18, 2013, 2:33pm (UTC -5)
For anyone who didn't know, the concept of Dyson's Sphere is actually one cultivated in the real world during the 1950's. Freeman Dyson was amused by this episode. Per Memory Alpha:
"Freeman Dyson himself called his theory a 'joke.' About 'Relics', Dyson said: 'Actually it was sort of fun to watch it. It's all nonsense, but it's quite a good piece of cinema.'  In the same interview, he said that 'Stapledon sphere' would be a more appropriate name, in honor of Olaf Stapledon, whose depiction of such an object in his 1937 novel Star Maker inspired young Dyson to look into the theory."
That said, the Dyson's Sphere was a fantastic sci-fi concept that helped to continue bridging both television series. The notion that Scotty randomly shows up 70+ years later in the Trek Universe is far-fetched itself, but the Sphere allowed for both his appearance AND for Scotty to save the day. Perfect homage for TOS, in my opinion.
Furthermore, Scotty's interaction with the TNG crew is well-executed. Much like his reaction to Ensign Sonya Gomez in "Q Who," Geordi expresses quick frustration over dealing with annoying personalities. Meanwhile, Picard expresses sympathy with Scotty, not only as a Captain, but also as someone who is a bit senior in age himself. And the Data scene in Ten Forward eerily reminds you of Scotty's conversations with Spock, his own non-human crew member on TOS.
I do agree with Jammer that the Dyson's Sphere was a grand concept that was not properly addressed in the Trek Universe, and that technobabble may have stolen away a bit of screentime from further deepening the emotional impact of Scotty's return. However, I'm not sure if it deserves the demotion of an entire star.
My rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars
Tue, Feb 12, 2013, 10:55am (UTC -5)
Tue, Feb 26, 2013, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
Maybe twenty-fourth-century transporter technology can beam through twenty-third-century shields. Yeah, that must be it.
Also, Starfleet Medical should have been all over Scotty's feat. Say someone has a terminal illness for which there's no treatment -- stick them in a transporter buffer until such time as a cure is discovered. Sorta like the Phantom Zone.
Sun, Jun 16, 2013, 10:58am (UTC -5)
The drinking scene with Picard was OK, even if Picard was a little patronising.
Agree that the Dyson Sphere was insufficiently explored.
In the end a bit of a gimmick episode that could have been far better and a sad way for Scotty to finish up!
Fri, Jul 26, 2013, 6:34pm (UTC -5)
The disrespect was uncalled for though, from Geordie patting his broken arm to his treating him like a pest. Everyone else from the old crew were treated with the proper respect in their appearances. And someone could have mentioned to him that McCoy and Spock were still around.
Sat, Aug 10, 2013, 6:43pm (UTC -5)
Scott: "You're not quite human, are ye?"
Data: "No sir. I am an android."
Scott: "I hope your name isn't Norman."
Computer: "Please specify program."
Scott: "Christine? What the bloody hell are ye doin' in there, lass?"
Scott: "I was doing blah blah blah when your great-grandfather was in diapers!"
Guinan: "I doubt it."
I think that last one is actually in the novelization.
Wed, Aug 21, 2013, 5:34pm (UTC -5)
The Dyson sphere actually reminds me a little of Percy Shelley’s Ozymandias—it’s a marvel of engineering and construction, in the middle of nowhere, abandoned. It’s perfect in construction, still functioning after what must be eons, but even a perfect technical achievement will be useless when the power source at its centre dies out. The idea of aging and outliving one’s usefulness runs through the whole episode, of course, but its cousin is the prospect of death and the recognition that everything will end, someday, and all that will be left are scraps of memories, which when you die will be gone as well. That recognition need not be miserable. There is dignity in recognizing that one will eventually cease to be, but that one can chose how on spends those moments and to find value in them; Scotty will never be on the Enterprise (no bloody A, B C or D) again, but he still has years of adventure left in him. Scotty’s parting advice to Geordi, to appreciate his time on the Enterprise, repeats essentially Kamin’s words to Meribor that now will never come again. But the episode also reminds us that there are some things that only change superficially but are somehow constant; the way to understand what happened to the Enterprise is in the past (i.e. in what happened to the Jenolen), the Jenolen is the key to saving the Enterprise, and Scotty’s quick-thinking, creativity and ability to use the tools he has at hand are timeless skills, even if the tools themselves are not.
From the general to the specific: I know what Jammer means about the over-the-top way that James Doohan plays Scotty, but I like it. I like it in general, but it works particularly well here, since Scotty’s neverending bluster is partly about Scotty always having wanted to be something of a living monument to himself; he purposefully crafted an identity to inflate his significance (as a miracle worker), partly because his ego needed constant stoking and partly because he also knows on some level that he isn’t taken entirely seriously, when in fact as the Chief Engineer he knows the ship more (in his estimation) than anyone else around. The mixture of put-on arrogance, genuine arrogance and insecurity seems believable to me and it also works great in this episode—it’s no wonder that Geordi finds Scotty grating, for example, and Scotty’s buying into his own myth makes his depression and rebirth all the more powerful and dramatic. Meanwhile, the contrast between Scotty’s over-the-top pioneer seat-of-your-pants spirit with Geordi’s easy-going competence brings out the contrast between the two series very nicely. Both men (and both shows) are brilliant, but one is and always will be a somewhat ludicrous trailblazer and the other a methodical (if occasionally a little sedate) professional.
I really like the scenes on the Jenolen; Geordi’s attempt to reach out to Scotty is a little obvious, but both Geordi and Scotty know that, and the reason Geordi’s discussion of the Jenolen’s value works is that it is based in real technical knowledge; Geordi is trying to make Scotty feel better, but he’s also right and both men can see it. I love the whole scene on the original Enterprise bridge, both Scotty’s moment to himself and his conversation with Picard. I like the in-jokes and the episode is endlessly quotable. (My favourite: “Synthetic scotch, synthetic commanders.”) The episode’s flaw is that there is not enough sense of wonder about everything here—both at Scotty and the Dyson sphere. Picard, Geordi and Data have scenes being impressed with the Sphere and interacting with Scotty, which is of the good. But somehow the implications of the Dyson Sphere, and its relevance to Scotty’s story, don’t come through as well in the dialogue as they could (though it is a suitably awesome sight, especially the neverending stream of continents on the inside). This becomes an even bigger problem when the jeopardy plot comes along and it feels perfunctory, though I do think it’s very well integrated into the episode thematically. This is closely related to the problem of the crew insufficiently recognizing how remarkable it is that Scotty’s around; I don’t actually have a problem with Picard, Geordi or Data’s characterization (Picard is professional on duty and kind off-duty, Geordi’s annoyed territorialism is basically how he reacted to Leah Brahms too, and Data is Data as ever), but there is still a sense that people around the ship should be clamouring to talk to the guy who was on The Original Enterprise. In general, I think the story here gets mostly everything right, and most of the execution is right there, too, though there are some significant drawbacks. Still, the episode is an easy 3.5 star show for me.
Sun, Sep 1, 2013, 11:01am (UTC -5)
Mon, Sep 2, 2013, 8:02am (UTC -5)
Mon, Nov 11, 2013, 9:07pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Nov 16, 2013, 10:05pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 21, 2014, 12:30pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 7:35pm (UTC -5)
Secondly, calling Scotty a living legend is probably a stretch. The difference in time between TOS era and TNG era is a bit more than the difference between now and World War II. Tell me, do you know the name of Eisenhower's quartermaster? Patton's chief of staff? Nimitz's second in command? I don't. It wouldn't surprise me that even quartermasters in the army now don't know the names of quartermasters from WWII. So while Kirk and perhaps Spock may be household names in the Federation, it's reasonable to assume Scotty was just a footnote in history. Heck, Data has a vast encyclopedic knowledge, and even he didn't know of Bones' aversion to Vulcans. So maybe LaForge had heard of him, but probably not as a legendary figure.
But most importantly, Scotty was acting very rudely in engineering. Someone used the analogy of Wilbur Wright suddenly appearing. Yeah, we'd be excited to talk to him. But what if someone was getting a jet ready for takeoff, and Wilbur kept interrupting our hypothetical mechanic with a bunch of complaints. "What are you doing building a plane outta metal, laddie? It's too heavy! And only one set of wings? Where's the propeller? Oh laddie, this bucket of bolts will never get off the ground..." I think the mechanic might start to harbor the same annoyances that Geordie showed.
I'm an engineer. I've given tours and shown off our company's technology to many other scientists, engineers, and professionals, the majority of which were older and more experienced than I. Not one of them acted in a manner that Scotty did. Not one was so condescending. Every one asked questions and tried to understand the technology and assumed I knew what I was talking about rather than being so dismissive. Scotty was being very unprofessional in there. I don't blame Geordi for showing him out. Especially since it was clear LaForge wasn't taking it too personally. He still seemed excited to talk to Scotty at first, and seemed ok with him while fixing up the old ship.
In any case, maybe its because I don't have the same nostalgia filter for TOS (TNG was my first Trek show, and so its the one that gets seen in rose-colored glasses), but I don't see this as an instant classic. I agree with pretty much everything Jammer has to say. The theme is hammered with no subtlety, and the intrigue of the Dyson Sphere was simply put by the wayside. It's still a fun episode, of course. And showing the old bridge (with the Star Trek fanfare playing in the background) was enough to force the nostalgia out of me anyway.
I think this would have been nice for a pseudo two-part episode. Leave Relics the way it is, and have it end with Scotty riding off into the sunset. Then have the next episode be focused on the Dyson Sphere itself. This is the biggest, best technology humanity has seen since the Iconian Gateway. This civilization had a level of engineering skill far beyond anything Starfleet has encountered so far. Doesn't that work as a mystery? Isn't that worth another episode? It's too bad that it didn't; I would have loved to see what they could have come up with.
As an aside, I'm not sure if anyone else noticed this, but the episode opens with Picard and Riker looking over Data's shoulder as he works at one of the science stations in the back. After some techtalk, the two stroll to the front of the bridge and continue the technobabble with... Data, who is now sitting at his normal console. Oops. Combine that with LaForge constantly grabbing Scotty's injured arm, and it seems the director wasn't a very detailed-oriented man.
Sat, Sep 6, 2014, 7:38pm (UTC -5)
1. A sphere this size would have no visible curvature as we see the Enterprise orbiting it. They make it look like the Dyson Sphere is about the size of the Death Star with an equivalent gravitational field (which was massive when they were millions of miles away but had no effect on them when up close.)
2. The tractor beam slowly pulls the Enterprise in and after shutting down, the forward momentum of the ship continues. Within a few minutes, the Enterprise is about ready to crash into the star at the center of the Sphere. But the problem here is, that the distance from the inner surface of the DS to the sun is said to be roughly 93,000,000 miles. I don't know how fast the Enterprise was coasting but let's say it was an unusually strong tractor beam and it sent the Enterprise on its way at 1000 mph. At that speed it would take 10 years for the Enterprise to reach the star, give or take.
3. So the Enterprise narrowly averts crashing into the star and soon is traveling back to the hatch that LaForge and Scotty are holding open for them. But my question has always been, if they can open the hatch from the outside at will, why not open it once to signal the Enterprise to let them know that they will open it again in an hour so the Enterprise can slip through?
In fact, once everyone realizes that the Enterprise is no longer permanently trapped, then exploration of the Sphere would be possible.
Glaring issues like this tend to diminish what could otherwise be fun stories on TNG.
Fri, Oct 3, 2014, 9:38pm (UTC -5)
Again, as others have said: why does nobody tell Scotty that half of his old shipmates are still alive? Also: is there not some planet with a nursing home for old engineers?
Fri, Dec 5, 2014, 7:29pm (UTC -5)
Scotty aside, this episode is just too obvious. The references are too obvious, the metaphors are too obvious, Geordi's arc is too obvious. Clearly Doohan's star power is the only thing holding this episode afloat.
Sun, Jan 11, 2015, 7:17pm (UTC -5)
Geordi's "ok" sounds awkward and confused to the point where I wonder if Geordi even knows what being drunk is like. Has he ever had a hangover? Hah.
Also very cool to reference Freeman Dyson, a real theoretical physicist.
Sat, Mar 21, 2015, 11:21am (UTC -5)
Seeing Picard on Kirk's Enterprise, even as a replica, was speechless. I have to agree on Johnny's comment--would have liked to see it as a two-parter, similar to "Unification."
Maybe have Picard mention that he knew and met Spock already.
Wed, May 6, 2015, 5:27pm (UTC -5)
I found the initial dismissal of Scotty, especially by La Forge, to be sad as well as a bit hard to believe. I realized the writers were trying to make a point about the elderly: Scotty is a "relic" as much as the abandoned Dyson sphere. But surely, outdated or not, a certain amount of hero worship would have to be expected, at least from every single crew member who works in engineering. TNG never hid the fact that the new Enterprise continues a proud tradition of previous ships with that name. The Enterprise has always been the premiere ship in the fleet -- and largely because of the feats of Kirk and company. How can they simply dismiss Chief Engineer Scott as an "annoying old dude" instead of pelting him with questions, requests for autographs, and pleas to hear stories about the beginning?
Seeing the old bridge (did Paramount actually preserve the set?) in the holodeck scene redeemed any flaws. Scott's talk with Picard was also a perfect scene. I did not find Picard patronizing, especially because he was getting on in years as well. Simply seeing him with his hair grown out a few episodes previously ("The Inner Light") cemented it in my mind that he is not a young man.
Wed, May 6, 2015, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jun 22, 2015, 5:23pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 17, 2015, 10:27am (UTC -5)
I like this episode agree with Jammer's 3 stars. I like it better than the Spock episodes and also glad it wasn't a 2 parter, though a previous comment about exploring the Dyson sphere after Scotty flys away in as a pseudo 2 parter might have been ok. The problem with that notion is a show needs conflict, so just exploring it wouldn't work as an episode.
Just an amusing aside, I wonder if Franklin's pattern might not have degraded if Scotty hadn't gained so much weight...Sawry Suh, I hain't got enough powerrrr!
Wed, Sep 9, 2015, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
Is it perfect? No. Count me in the camp as also felling like the Dyson Sphere wasn't given adequate attention. But, given a choice between Scotty and the Sphere, I'll go with Scotty. It's just a shame that the concept of a Dyson Sphere wasn't used in another episode, one that could have explored the concept properly.
But, in the end, we get some really great scenes like the one in Ten Forward with Scotty and Data and the one on the TOS bridge between Scotty and Picard. It's kind of odd that there are no Scotty/LaForge scenes that really stand out, given how much time the two spend together. But, like Jammer said, if it doesn't achieve greatness, so what?
Now, as for the crew being distant from Scotty - well, that's one thing I kind of like about "Relics." We as the audience may have an extreme emotional investment in Scotty as a character, but why in the world would these characters? Now, if Kirk suddenly appeared, I could understand people finding it odd that the crew was stand-offish toward him. Kirk is a major figure in Federation history by their point in time. Scotty, not so much. The fact that people don't revere him only adds to the character, in my opinion. It shows that he's human. Sure, he was important in his day. But, his day has past. That's part of life. To rob the character of that part of his humanity is to rob him of something rather important. That's also why I don't understand why so many people had a problem with Kirk's death in "Generations." These people aren't demi-gods. They live and they die. You can argue about the manner in which Kirk died, but to say that he simply shouldn't have been killed is rather absurd I think. The same holds true for Scotty. To say that everyone should know his name and view him as some kind of quasi-divine being is also absurd. He's just a guy - that's what always made him so great!
Wed, Sep 9, 2015, 7:25pm (UTC -5)
Heck, the way TV series are made these days, the Dyson Sphere would've been the locale for half the season. No reason "Schisms," "True Q," "A Fistful of Datas," and "Ship in a Bottle" couldn't have used the sphere as a setting, with its ongoing exploration occupying the background action. At the end, though, we'd need a sphere-centric story to pay off all that attention.
Sat, Oct 3, 2015, 5:40am (UTC -5)
Scotty has always been something of a cartoonish character, and we do get something of that portrayal here. But we also get moments of genuine pathos - the scene with Picard on the holodeck is a triumph and a series highlight. The man out of time element is nicely played.
The relationship between Geordi and Scotty is key to the episode, prickly at first but then traveling to respect and friendship - with a healthy does of technobabble. It's a nice passing of the torch.
And the Dyson sphere is an intriguing concept, and I'd agree one that could perhaps have been explored subsequently. But if nothing else it gave us a very nice FX shot of the Enterprise escaping the sphere. "It is green" indeed. 3.5 stars.
Fri, Nov 20, 2015, 1:15pm (UTC -5)
The Enterprise knows the frequency Jenolen's shield harmonics, so they they can beam through the shields (See Generations where Klingons are able to ignore shields with weapons once shield harmonics are revealed).
Fri, Nov 20, 2015, 7:07pm (UTC -5)
Clearly, Jenolen's shields were directed to the sides, leaving a gap for a beam to slip through.
Fri, Nov 20, 2015, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jan 29, 2016, 3:16pm (UTC -5)
Thinking back and comparing the two Scottys, I was drawn to Spock's Brain. Really. The first few minutes of it were pretty good, with the alien ship, and Scotty mentioning it is ion powered and how he'd like to get a look at it. I think he'd have the same reaction to the Enterprise D. He might not even be in that much awe though, remembering his reaction to the Excelsior (And if my Grandmother had wheels, she'd be a wagon). But I cannot imagine that he wouldn't know intuitively that this ship worked differently than the ones he was used to. Similar, but different. I always figured he'd want to poke around, but he wouldn't get in the way.
I saw Mr. Doohan at a Star Trek convention around 1993, in South Bend, Indiana. He was a great storyteller, and he shared some of his memories of hitting the beach on D-Day, with the Royal Canadian Artillary. Some of the stories were rather poignant.
Enjoy the day Everyone! RT
Sat, Jun 18, 2016, 3:19am (UTC -5)
Sat, Nov 16, 2013, 10:05pm (UTC -5)
I always found the inflated time estimates and subsequent "miracle worker" status would only work for so long. A captain who falls for it over and over without eventually "having the engineer's number" would seem, to me, to be rather dopey. And Kirk was many things, but not that. I suspect Kirk was onto him nearly from the gitgo, but simply let the baby have its bottle. And playing that goofy game is simply not LaForge's style.
Or LaForge is to arrogant to take good advice. As much as a love TNG they are to rigid and stiff and by the book while TOS was loose and let their crew do things like that for the betterment of the ship. That's why it worked and wasn't a "goofy game."
Sat, Jun 18, 2016, 3:21am (UTC -5)
No one cares that you're and engineer and you're still wrong.
Thu, Jul 21, 2016, 2:29am (UTC -5)
Yes somebody cares about the skepticalMI, him his family, his friends, and maybe some posters here who respect his pov. So you might be wrong sir, or maam.
I do realize this was a stretch to shoehorn a TOS character inro the mix but damn was this so much fun!!
Right off geordi saying something was jury rigged we could smell ole scotty. I agree that where most of us lived with scotty during his grand ol time with the beloved capn kirk he wouldnt be remembered 80 years later.... he would just be an unnamed crewman.
Ya have to admit he was a little too pushy with the old stories on young people who had a task at hand with something as important as a dysons sphere. I will concede geordi was a bit short with mr scott in engineering. Downright shitty if you ask me. It was mr scott who tried to remind mr laforge that sometimes its the captains who are the babies who need to be fed their milk. God do I love this episode!
After the new breed puts scotty in his place he boozes up and heads for the one place he know and loves, the one elderly man with wisdom enough to understand scotty comes and helps an old man.
My god can you imagine STTNG without Patrick Stewart?
Beside rhe point that scotties sh**rigging saved the enterprise once again this was a story about listening to the old people. For we co u ld have not gotten here without tjem.
Fri, Aug 19, 2016, 10:28am (UTC -5)
"You didn't tell him how long IT'D REALLY TAKE??!"
Mon, Sep 26, 2016, 2:54am (UTC -5)
I always thought that idea came from parodies ...
And I've been watching the BR commentary on this episode: Initially, Ronald D. Moore had written an even more distanced crew, but the actors thought their characters would like Scotty. Since he's the engineer of the crew that saved the Federation many times, I'm sure every Starfleet cadet would have read about him as often.
Mon, Sep 26, 2016, 8:55am (UTC -5)
It's been a Star Trek trope by this time that the chief engineer gives the captain an ETA for repairs and the captain says he's got a fraction of that amount to get it done. Despite the timetable being impossible, it always gets done. I'm pretty sure Scotty's line here is a meta-joke on that tired trope rather than being a reference to his actual behavior with Kirk.
Mon, Sep 26, 2016, 9:04am (UTC -5)
Kirk: "How much refit time before we can take her out again?"
Scotty: "Eight weeks, sir. But you don't have eight weeks, so I'll do it for you in two."
Kirk: "Mr. Scott, have you always multiplied your repair estimates by a factor of four?"
Scotty: "Certainly, sir. How else can I keep my reputation as a miracle worker?"
Mon, Sep 26, 2016, 10:14am (UTC -5)
That being said, I think even the ST:III line is a meta-joke about how repair demands are always met despite them being impossible. The "Relics" joke would then a joke on the joke. Even in ST:II they're taking the piss out of this by Kirk actually instructing them to give an exaggerated repair estimate. My point was, when watching TOS it's not really plausible that Scotty was deliberately giving inflated repair times; it's just that Kirk's demands somehow magically made anything possible. It's not like we were going to get an episode where, during the crisis, nothing works, with Scotty telling the Captain (as the ship is exploding) "I told you I couldn't do it this fast!"
Wed, Nov 30, 2016, 6:43pm (UTC -5)
- I like how a portion of the show was all about the Enterprise not being able to stop it's forward momentum, then the writers suddenly threw that out the window once the door of the sphere was open so that they could turn around and fly out of there extremely quickly. Also, should I even mention how bad the scale of distances is screwed up here? The tractor beam brings them in at about one Enterprise length per 10 seconds. At that rate it would take years to reach the sun from the outer edge of the sphere.
- As others mentioned, I think it's absolutely hilarious that the episode ends saying that one (yes ONE) single science ship was being dispatched to study the sphere....are you kidding me? This should have been the find of century, with a massive race across the quadrant to travel there and being studying the inner surface and all the technological advancements that may have been present. It would take a fleet of ships a decade to barely even begin scratching the surface of this place....and once word got out of this massive find, you can bet the Romulans/Ferengi/Klingons/Cardassians etc. would all be trying to find ways to sneak in there and explore.
- I actually agree with both sides of the argument regarding how Scotty was treated on the ship. For one, I believe everyone would have been much more cordial toward him, especially Geordi. However, at the same time, Scotty had already made the decision to retire, that's why he was on the Jenolen on the first place. There should have been no reason for him to suddenly feel useless, when he had already decided to stop being a Starfleet engineer and enjoy his retirement. That being said, he would certainly be like a kid in a candy store once presented with the opportunity to see the engineering of a starship far ahead of his expertise.
- Couldn't the Enterprise have gotten a little closer before firing photon torpedoes? That way they wouldn't have been cutting it so close before exiting out the door. Also, how about waiting for the transport cycle to finish and getting confirmation that Geordi and Scotty were aboard before firing at the Jenolen?
- Just a thought, wouldn't there be the SAME tractor beam element on the INSIDE in order to open the doors and go out of the sphere, just like there was to bring ships in? That would be plain comment sense.......but you can't expect too much from writers under pressure to spit episode after episode out in a short period of time.
All in all, an entertaining episode that I keep watching.
Sat, Jan 7, 2017, 6:46pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jan 7, 2017, 10:43pm (UTC -5)
I noticed half of your comments are complaints about a dude who hasn't commented here in years. Just let it go, already. 😂
Sat, Jan 7, 2017, 10:52pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 9:03pm (UTC -5)
So that moment when Scotty (Scotty!) recreates the old bridge which we'd not seen in a new contex for about two decades was pretty special, at least to me.
Scotty and PIcard talking shop on the Constitution-class Enterprise. Loved it then. Still love it now.
Thu, Mar 23, 2017, 10:24pm (UTC -5)
Scotty's been in stasis for 75 years and he came out alone as the only survivor of a deadly crash with the whole world now completely different, and other than Data creeping up on him at the bar and giving him a proper drink (Data's polite to everyone though, so that hardly counts) the only person even willing to sit down and talk with him is Picard. If this were some one-off character you could bet they'd be making a big deal out of this and would all be clamoring to listen to what he had to say and help him adjust to modern times. It's appalling.
I also hate how they robbed Scotty's character of all initiative. He's a captain and an engineering genius, and instead of giving him a ship or a place at Starfleet doing engineering research they make him content to take a shuttle craft and wander aimlessly completely alone, probably to just crash somewhere else and die for real this time. Not a very satisfying sendoff for an iconic and beloved character.
Fri, Apr 21, 2017, 3:18am (UTC -5)
Mon, Apr 24, 2017, 7:57pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jul 17, 2017, 8:28pm (UTC -5)
The error was initially Riker's then Picard's--they take full responsibility for bad command decisions. Riker in the first segment assigns Geordi as Scotty's tour guide; yeah, "great" idea, in the face of the Dyson Sphere, apparently a wholly new phenomenon that no one to-date has ever seen. Picard makes the same mistake later.
Clearly the writers of the script never managed a team, let alone a floating city with many teams.
I liked the episode and I'm fine with the 3 stars. But I'm also aware that it's my own nostalgia that drives such a judgment, and not any brilliance in how this iconic character, nor his supporting cast, were portrayed. The plot and the dialogue simply sucked.
Sat, Jul 22, 2017, 8:07pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Sep 4, 2017, 9:17pm (UTC -5)
"As an aside, I'm not sure if anyone else noticed this, but the episode opens with Picard and Riker looking over Data's shoulder as he works at one of the science stations in the back. After some techtalk, the two stroll to the front of the bridge and continue the technobabble with... Data, who is now sitting at his normal console. Oops. "
Well there was a jolt to the ship just as the scene ended, and we see Data bolt away while Picard and Riker stroll away. It makes sense that he got seated at ops before they got there.
Mon, Sep 4, 2017, 9:38pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 19, 2017, 11:30am (UTC -5)
The biggest problem with it (as is the case with so, so many TNG episodes) is that it had too much going on for the time limit of one show, so everything was rushed, leaving potentially brilliant scenes never realized. As for the crews reaction to Scotty, it is fairly obvious that it was scripted in this way for the entire metaphorical payoff with old vs. new at the end, so I won't give it much thought. I've seen some really nice takes on that here in the comment section though(@SkepticalMI , I'm looking at you. Even though I am three years late to your comment).
Also, like many of you have said, the sphere itself didn't get much attention, and someone even said that if the show had been made nowadays, half of the season would revolve around it. Which, alongside the time limit each episode has, brings me to another problem with TNG, which is one-plot-per-episode scripting. So finally, it boils down to having two huge elements that could barely be explored enough in one episode, let alone having them both at the same time. Because of that, the episode feels like it didn't deliever (to me, at least). The Sphere wasn't explored (on screen), Spock wasn't mentioned to Scotty (because each episode erases the memories of the crew of the previous events it would seem) and so on.
As for the errors, a lot of you have already mentioned beaming Scotty and LaForge through the shield, but did anyone else notice that every time they put the Sphere's star on the viewer you could see space and OTHER STARS in the background? The second one is a minor mistake we all are used to by now in Trek, but I just wanted to point that out because I found it pretty funny.
What I found to hilarious is Scotty's reaction to Worf, especially at the end of the episode where he says goodbye to everybody and the way he looks at Worf after that you know that he's thinking "I can't wrap my mind around a Klingon in that uniform."
Fri, Oct 6, 2017, 8:15am (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 6:13pm (UTC -5)
Of course having guest actor Doohan back is an immediate hit although he does go a bit overboard in the scene where Geordi snaps. But what is extremely well portrayed in the 1st half of the episode is how out of place and irrelevant he feels. So I have to give "Relics" props for that.
The Dyson Sphere is pretty impressive if we think about it although it wasn't clear why the communications array sucks ships in. For what purpose? And then when the Enterprise was in orbit around the star, I guess they recharged the impulse engines sufficiently to break orbit and head for the exit. But I thought they were stuck there. In any case, it turned out to be a nice way for Scotty to be useful again.
The scene with Picard and Scotty reminiscing on the bridge of Kirk's Enterprise was nice -- even though Scotty's a captain he prefers being a chief engineer. The analogies from 1st ship to 1st girlfriend were pretty a propos.
3 stars for "Relics" -- always nice to pay homage to TOS. Scotty's a character that will live on for a long time -- still the best chief engineer in any Trek series. This is a nice Trek episode that throws in some nostalgia, does a good job of showing a character's plight (Scotty out of his era), a bit of sci-fi (Dyson Sphere) and an improvised solution to solve a problem (escape the sphere) -- all in all, good Trek.
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 12:46am (UTC -5)
I loved how they used Scotty’s clever engineering skills to have him rig a continuous transporter feed to bring him into the TNG era. But a lot of the early passages weren’t all that interesting. Things picked up when Scotty went to the holodeck and recreated the TOS bridge and Picard feeling for Scotty came to check on him and talk about old times.
The Dyson sphere plot didn’t do much for me and really wasn’t that interesting either. And as far as TNG Jeopardy plots this was not too impressive—on par with the weaker ones in episodes like Cost of Living and Force of Nature
There were some nice moments here and there and once Geordi started treating Scotty better things improved but overall kinda average despite the fact it was a much hyped at the time TOS crossover
Sun, Nov 26, 2017, 6:44am (UTC -5)
The Dysonsphere should have been it's own episode. I would love to have seen an away mission down on the surface.
All that being said, the holodeck recreation scene is remarkable.
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 11:21am (UTC -5)
Wed, May 30, 2018, 8:13pm (UTC -5)
Thu, May 31, 2018, 4:40am (UTC -5)
Thu, May 31, 2018, 3:15pm (UTC -5)
Interesting story and I like the idea of Scotty outsmarting everyone (like it should be!). But would you really get rid of the Dyson Sphere? I thought that was the most memorable part of the episode.
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 12:26am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jun 5, 2018, 11:43am (UTC -5)
I mean I guess I’ve got to hand it to Generations for not doing a Borg story right away, but it still feels like a long version of this one.
Sun, Aug 5, 2018, 6:33pm (UTC -5)
"Scotty jury-rigs the transporter to keep him alive for 75 years, but can't jury-rig it to repair his arm upon re-materialization... "
That is strange. It seems to me that if the computer stores a person's pattern, it would actually take the equivalent of a few lines of coding to "remember" that the body being stored has an injury to restore.
So...why not delete those lines before rematerialization?
Sun, Aug 12, 2018, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
What disappointed me most was the Dyson Sphere. What started with mystery and wonder (and--by TNG standards--convincing visuals) turned out to be no more than a tool to let Scotty save the day. I was really hoping to learn more about it in this episode, but no. It feels like a throwaway backdrop and should have been so much more. Still 3 stars.
And well, from the inside it didn't really look like a 200 million km diameter. I mean, you can see the surface curving around from a distance where you can see mountains and cities. It should have been completely flat. But I'm starting to find logical flaws in Star Trek again, always a can of worms maybe better left closed.
Fri, Dec 7, 2018, 10:42am (UTC -5)
240 million km in diameter...a sphere the size of the Earth's orbit of the sun...and so thick that the Enterprise can't blast a hole through it...
And then the whole thing is abandoned by an unknown civilization...
Fri, Dec 7, 2018, 11:20am (UTC -5)
240 million km in diameter...a sphere the size of the Earth's orbit of the sun...and so thick that the Enterprise can't blast a hole through it...
And then the whole thing is abandoned by an unknown civilization..."
Space is incredibly vast so we might imagine that there was once a collection of planets like the Federation or the Romulans (we also hear about the Iconians and Promelian Empire from "Booby Trap") that could muster the resources to create a Dyson sphere. I'll take a page from Asimov here, and point out that the Roman empire created an incredible infrastructure spanning Europe, Africa, and Asia with some of the buildings and structures still in operation today.
Like Ancient Rome though, perhaps this civilization was wiped out by invading forces like the Klingons or the Breen who sacked the capital which stopped the funding and trade supplies to the sphere. This is all just speculation, but part of the fun of these kinds of episodes is considering that there were once ancient methods and ways of spacefare that matched, or even beat the present Federation methodology.
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 2:53am (UTC -5)
James Dooghan steals all the scenes he's in, and brings all the energy we remember to the role. I loved his dialogue, and all the casual cursing (which, apart from Picard's shock merde in the first season, and some out of place lines in the movies) is not very TNG.
What I liked a lot less was the routine jeopardy plot, which felt like a random bunch of scenes that could have been from any episode stitched together. The Enterprise seems disabled one moment, then is able to just fly free the next? Why not orbit further from the star to avoid its effects if the thrusters are working? Grrr, I'm nitpicking again. It's a shame this aspect of the show disappoints over the years, but there it is.
Wed, Feb 20, 2019, 4:15pm (UTC -5)
That is , up until the last scene which makes zero sense and exceeds shmalz levels.
From the novels we know Captain Scott goes off to head up the Starfleet Corps of Engineers but as far as the viewers of this episode knows he just flies off into the figurative sunset on his own in a shuttle.
Does he know where he is going -what would he do when he got there-has he got a packed lunch?
Sun, Apr 7, 2019, 5:21am (UTC -5)
That said, having worked in the oil industry, I can tell you that old engineers do indeed waffle on like that. Scotty was on his way to a retirement planet 75 years previously anyway so his character was probably already at that stage even without the extended stay in the pattern buffer leading to his obsolescence.
As someone who lived in scotland for 10 years, Doohan's "scottish" accent actually veered between irish and scottish, but that's always been the case anyway and he takes the best of both worlds.
I am finding that almost every TNG episode brings at least one tear, much like good doctor who used to. I loved the moment with Picard and Scotty, and the respect and compassion our 24th century captain displays.
Sun, Apr 28, 2019, 5:23pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
Besides general interest from others, you'd think the ship's historian (I imagine there has to be at least one), would stick to Scotty like glue while as much first hand information as possible was pumped out. It'd be like how whenever one of the last native speakers of a language is left a bunch of linguists fly out and record hours of conversation at at time. It could even create an amusing parallel between how much Scotty likes to prattle on vs. how insistent and probing an overeager historian could be when encountering a literal time traveler.
Tue, May 26, 2020, 4:34pm (UTC -5)
First, Geordi figured out way too quickly what happened to the Enterprise. If you look back on the scene all the pieces are there, but it's just laid out on a platter. Minor nitpick I guess.
Second, how does the sphere create such a huge gravity well when it's mostly hollow? Yes if it takes up all the matter present in a solar system to build (and then some), that's a lot of mass, but they go into systems with stars big enough to go supernova, quasars, etc., and they don't seem to have any problem with the gravity.
Third, how does anything cling to the inner surface of the sphere? Its center of mass is still at the star. I suppose they can use some tech to explain this, since they do get all of the star's energy to harness.
Fourth, it should've taken years for the Enterprise to get from the portal to anywhere near the sun at those speeds. Even if you assume those tractor beams accelerated the ship at impulse speed (let's say 1/8 impulse, which would be 1/32 light speed), it would still take nearly three hours to travel the 100m radius of the sphere.
Fifth, what idiot designed the portal to fling ships directly towards the sun anyway? Of course, since it would really take so long as to be irrelevant...
Sixth, the Enterprise barely makes it into orbit of the sun, but they're so close they're being hit by flares and other solar ejections. Ok, but by the time they're hailed by Geordi on the Jenolen, they have full engines back, yet they're still within spitting distance of the sun? Why weren't they already back at the portal trying to open it, or did the tractor beams wipe their sensors of their previous trajectory? They should've pulled up to a higher orbit at the very least.
Seventh, Geordi could've opened the portal, hailed the Enterprise, and conversed with them as many times as needed to figure out a solution. Jamming the Jenolen into the hatch was just a contrivance.
Eighth, beaming through the shields. SFDebris put it best.
RIKER: Wait the shields are still up.
SCOTTY: Never mind that!
RIKER: You can't beam through the shields, we did a whole episode about it.
SCOTTY: We'll...we'll tell you the frequency. Yeah! You can beam through the shields if you know the frequency.
RIKER: No the episode was about beaming through our own shields. I mean we know the frequency of the shields of our own damn ship.
SCOTTY: I uh, I only have the shields up in the front and back.
RIKER: Nuh uh, I call no way.
SCOTTY: Uhh I hate this bloody century!
Ninth, nobody ever seems to bring this up, but in the final scene Picard says "Since you lost your ship saving ours, it seemed only fair." Yet Picard was the one who asked Scotty in sickbay why he wasn't on the crew manifest in the first place, because he was just a passenger.
I'll let myself out now, but I still really like this one overall. It's mainly the last 10 minutes where I think it falls off a cliff.
Tue, May 26, 2020, 9:45pm (UTC -5)
I think you raise some good points about the tech side of the episode. My main gripe is that the tech side wasn't interesting, more so than the fact of certain illogical omissions. I guess I do have a few possible explanations I could suggest:
"Second, how does the sphere create such a huge gravity well when it's mostly hollow? Yes if it takes up all the matter present in a solar system to build (and then some), that's a lot of mass, but they go into systems with stars big enough to go supernova, quasars, etc., and they don't seem to have any problem with the gravity."
If you took all matter in our solar system there is NO WAY you'd have enough to encircle a star like they did here. So I guess we need to conclude that they used matter from many star systems, shuttling it in to complete the job like a giant Death Star. I guess if it was the combined matter of like 100 systems maybe that could explain it? But even then that shouldn't compare with the mass of a large star, so yeah...
"Third, how does anything cling to the inner surface of the sphere? Its center of mass is still at the star. I suppose they can use some tech to explain this, since they do get all of the star's energy to harness."
This one actually seems sensible to me. The issue isn't the center of gravity of the star system, it's the force of gravity at any given point. If the sphere is very far from the star then its gravity would be minor compared to the gravity of the immediate matter. That is why we don't fly off of the Earth into the sun every day. It ends up being a math question about how much matter is how close to you, to determine the net force applied to you when you're on the surface. I can't do that calculation, but it would have to do with how dense the matter is near you and just how big that sphere is. The mass of the rest of the sphere ends up mattering less the further it is from you, but still the parts of the sphere closer to you would all impact you a lot, just as the matter 'beneath' your feet would. Unlike Earth, where the majority of the Earth's mass is 'beneath' you, in the sphere it would largely be to the sides of you (the furthest points being 'above' you, but also too far away to matter much compared to the nearer parts). So it is possible that the net gravity acting on you would, let's say, make you hover 100 feet off the ground! Or it could be anything like that, it depends on what numbers (radius and density) are plugged into the equations.
"Fourth, it should've taken years for the Enterprise to get from the portal to anywhere near the sun at those speeds. Even if you assume those tractor beams accelerated the ship at impulse speed (let's say 1/8 impulse, which would be 1/32 light speed), it would still take nearly three hours to travel the 100m radius of the sphere."
Let's say for argument's sake that the sphere's radius is equal to the distance of the Earth to the sun (151 million km), and that the Enterprise as you say was going 1/32 C. C = 1 billion kph, so 1/32 C = 31 million kph. So at 1/8 impulse (if your figure for it is correct) the Enterprise would move from the portal to the star in around 15 hours, assuming no acceleration as it got closer. That does roughly seem to match what the show portrays.
"Fifth, what idiot designed the portal to fling ships directly towards the sun anyway? Of course, since it would really take so long as to be irrelevant..."
I, uh, assume the system was malfunctioning by this point. Like, presumably air traffic control or whatever would shut off the beam once the ship was inside.
"Seventh, Geordi could've opened the portal, hailed the Enterprise, and conversed with them as many times as needed to figure out a solution. Jamming the Jenolen into the hatch was just a contrivance."
I guess what they were trying to suggest was that they could only successfully keep it open for seconds, so they needed to buy a little time?
Wed, May 27, 2020, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
Regarding the amount of material needed to build this shell, it all boils down to how thick it is really. The Wikipedia article on Dyson Spheres (specifically a Dyson Shell) notes a calculation by Anders Sandberg that a shell constructed from our solar system's available materials at Earth's orbit would be roughly 8-20cm thick depending on density. That apparently includes the solid cores of the gas giants, but no idea what happens to their gas or liquid components. Assume we can get some more thickness by converting that mass into something else.
Regarding gravity, apparently the gravitational pull on an object inside a hollow sphere is zero. The stronger forces acting close by are canceled out by the weaker forces acting at a distance because there's so much more of it. Any civilization advanced enough to build this thing could put gravity plating on the whole inside face, so that doesn't bother me too much. I also wonder what sort of effect solar winds might have on pushing gasses towards the shell.
The impression I got from the episode was that Geordi and Scotty were only on the Jenolen for at most a few hours. They'd need to be checking in from time to time, taking a break, getting something to eat. If it was longer, then the Enterprise had that much more time to get out of the star's corona.
Regarding opening the hatch, I meant that Geordi and Scotty could just sit off in the distance, "hail" it so it would open, then just keep doing that as many times as necessary to communicate with the Enterprise and give them time to escape. They acted like the one time they tricked the hatch into opening was the one and only time it would work, but there's no basis in that. For all we know they could stay out of range and keep hailing the portal over and over until it was fully opened, kind of like waving a stick in front of an automatic door sensor.
Wed, May 27, 2020, 12:22pm (UTC -5)
Incidentally, the notion of any object (other than a neutron star) being made of neutronium is ludicrous. Such a material would explode the instant it is removed from its native environment.
Wed, May 27, 2020, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
The Doomsday device was also made of neutronium!
Wed, May 27, 2020, 12:55pm (UTC -5)
Wed, May 27, 2020, 12:59pm (UTC -5)
Hah! At least with that one I could believe it's a result of false boasting on their part.
Wed, May 27, 2020, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 18, 2020, 8:08pm (UTC -5)
In spite of my general immunity to techno-nausea in TNG scripts, I have to say that the use of the word 'array' every 4 minutes brought me pretty close to my shut-down limit.
If I could go back in time to TNG central, I would hand the writing staff a good thesaurus and require them to initiate a search for some new nouns. Sheesh!
Tue, Sep 15, 2020, 11:41pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 29, 2020, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
The Dyson Sphere story that is a background to all of this is also quite original, and builds the suspense nicely toward the conclusion, with the Enterprise trapped.
Odd though that a 75 year old ship can hold the doors open with its shields, when the Starfleet flagship can't punch a hole through them. I suppose the difference between material strength and motor strength.
The dialogue between Data and Scotty about the Aldebaran whisky is priceless. "It is .. green".
The reference implying that Kirk was still alive in Scotty's present day - he's on his way to retirement - is unfortunate.
When we see Scotty's ship on the surface of the sphere, it looks curved, even up relatively close. Yes, sphere surfaces are curved, but this particular sphere would be millions of times flatter than the surface of the Earth.
The ending is a bit weird - he's just going off into the unknown in a shuttlecraft? It would make more sense to return him to his own time, but he doesn't seem that bothered to have been flung 75 years into the future.
This is a general observation about TOS + movies vs TNG but when you think about it, the technology and culture isn't really all that different between them. There's a lot in the present day (2020 as I type) that would seem extremely alien to people in the 1940s, but we never really get a sense of that in Star Trek.
The scene where the Enterprise escapes through the closing doors sideways is real class - proper entertainment.
Anyway - self-indulgent maybe, a bit overly sentimental for some perhaps, but I liked this one a lot.
Wed, Oct 21, 2020, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 11, 2021, 12:21am (UTC -5)
Not sure why the episode needed to have a conflict between Scotty and Geordi. Scotty could have been honored with a dinner with the whole staff and could tell stories of the Enterprise. He could have had a pleasant time in Engineering with Geordi being friendly and interested. Maybe Geordi and Scotty in the Holodeck with the old Enterprise engineering section. He could have had more funny "man out of time" encounters like at Ten Forward to show distinctions between TOS and TNG. Perhaps he wanted to look up old crewmates and they could shoehorn in some photos or even videos of the TOS cast.
The conflict was unnecessary and so was Scotty's obsession with trying to be useful. He was retired and on his way to settle down. Why the sudden desire to get to work? And did he think that he would just start pushing buttons with no learning curve after 75 years? Being interested in the new Enterprise is logical, but wanting to pull a 9 to 5 shift is a reach.
It was great to see Scotty, but this was not a fitting tribute to him or TOS.
He could have still saved the day at the end.
Mon, Mar 15, 2021, 6:57pm (UTC -5)
The characterizations are off, particularly Geordi and Picard. I agree, I almost want to punch Geordi. The plot seems so forced.
Scotty veers toward parody here. Sheesh, how did the “multiply repair estimates by four/miracle worker” thing go from an obvious joke to canon?
And then they just give him a shuttle at the end. Can they just do that? And is it possible he’s not mentally and physically well enough to send off alone?
And why did everybody suddenly become so interested they were there to send him off?
This has to be one of Moore’s weakest stories. Frankly, the shuttle gift at the end just seems like “ugh, how do I get him off the ship...?”
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 9:50am (UTC -5)
There is a deleted scene on the blu ray which shows her doing this very thing. It only makes matters worse for Scotty once he figures out that Geordi has sent a psychiatrist to see him. The scene was cut due to running time issues but honestly it wasn't a very good scene to begin with.
Tempeh said: "Doohan just isn't that fun to watch (in this episode). It's easy to get warm feelings toward him based strictly on nostalgia. I just think he is "off." You can see him reading from cards when he is walking in the hallway"
On the commentary track Ron Moore says that Doohan was having some trouble remembering his lines. Considering he ultimately died from Alzheimer's disease it makes the episode a little more depressing. I thought he did a good job under the circumstances.
Silly asked: "And then they just give him a shuttle at the end. Can they just do that?"
If you've ever watched Voyager you will know that shuttlecraft breed faster than Tribbles. You gotta get rid of those suckers as fast as humanly possible or the whole ship will be overrun.
Scotty did sacrifice his own ride, the Jenolan, so maybe they figured one good turn deserves another.
I like "Relics." Yeah, mainly because of the nostalgia factor, but that's the whole point of the episode.
Best scene in the ep: The holodeck scene of course.
Most important scene in the episode (imo): the one where the young officer is showing Scotty his quarters. You can see here just how lonely Scotty is as he tries to get the ensign to hang around by telling him tales of the old days. The ensign, like most young people, isn't interested because he has a life/duties of his own to get back to.
Most problematic scene: The engineering scene with Geordi and Scotty. I'm really surprised that this scene wasn't rewritten. Moore just pushes things too far. Scotty was lonely and was afraid of living a life without a purpose and this made him a little clingy - I have no problem with that idea. It happens to people as they get old. The problem is that they made him self-righteous at the same time. I just don't buy that characterization.
The we have Geordi. A nice guy character played by one of the nicest guys on the planet. And now he's snapping at an old man. It just doesn't work. I wonder how many fans Geordi lost because of this one scene?
Bottom line: this story didn't need conflict. How much more devastating would the engineering scene have been if Geordi truly wanted Scotty's help, and Scotty blows his last (in his mind) opportunity to be useful?
p.s. I'm a fan of some of the Star Trek tie-in novels and I'd like to recommend a couple of Scotty-centric books. The first is "Engines of Destiny" by Gene DeWeese; it's a timey-wimey post Generations book. The second is "The Kobayashi Maru" by
Julia Ecklar simply to see how Scotty solves the "insolvable" problem.
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 11:53am (UTC -5)
I brought this up before, but the Jenolan wasn't Scottie's ship, he was just a passenger. So Picard's line "since you lost your ship saving ours, it seemed only fair" makes no sense. That's either sloppy script writing from the get-go, or Scottie was made a passenger rather than the captain in a rewrite, and they missed this bit of dialog that needed changing.
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 12:44pm (UTC -5)
SCOTT: You're giving me one of your shuttles?
PICARD: Well, call it an extended loan.
Tue, Apr 20, 2021, 6:24am (UTC -5)
@Jeffrey Jakucyk. I do think Picard sentence makes sense in a wider perspective. Although he was a passanger he also acted as a crew in the end partly took command of it. He, although handing the command to Geordi, took possesion of this ship and sacrificed it. Juridically there is a difference of owning and having the possession of something. I have no problem with this "trade".
Thu, Oct 14, 2021, 3:19am (UTC -5)
Said the Captain to the Chief
There’s too much confusion
And the opening’s far too brief
Engineer men, they drink my green …
Mostly an exercise in nostalgia, but enjoyable all the same. The main problem is that Scotty is a TOS character, not a TNG character, and it shows. The two shows had diverged in ‘ship-based philosophy ‘ so much by 1992 that it’s difficult to fit a character from the original show into the new one, and make them relevant. Never mind the supposed 75 years of elapsed time - the only thing that could be realistically done is to have the character wax lyrically about the ‘good old days’, hence the very good holodeck scene (though you would think Scotty would have recreated engineering rather than the bridge).
Yes, an ‘honorary 3 stars’ seems fair and just.
Thu, Oct 14, 2021, 11:26am (UTC -5)
Yeah but the bridge is a much more interesting and iconic set. Plus they had footage of the original bridge completely empty from one particular episode. Also consider that while Scottie was chief engineer, he was also third in command, so he spent a fair bit of time on the bridge too. I'm not that familiar with TOS, but my understanding is that when Kirk, Spock, and McCoy were away then Scottie was in command of the ship. Geordi only commanded once on TNG I believe, and that was season 1 helmsman Geordi anyway.
Mon, Oct 18, 2021, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Oct 18, 2021, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
This episode is good for nostalgia, but also a little sad. As some other reviewers have pointed out.
Wed, Nov 17, 2021, 9:28am (UTC -5)
This is one of the episodes where you can tell they had an idea for one really cool scene and then had absolutely nothing to surround it.
The holodeck scene is great but why is Scottie even lamenting the passage of time? 75 years ago was presumably feels like yesterday to him and he lived a full life, so what is he whingeing about?
When Scottie says he was able to tell the speed of the old Enterprise just by feel, I thought it was going to be a "Booby Trap" type story where the crew overestimate the new Enterprise's capabilities but Scottie with his rudimentary Wright Brothers-esque techniques is able to save the day, Similarly to how Picard had to manually fly the Enterprise in Booby Trap.
Thu, Nov 18, 2021, 11:14am (UTC -5)
He feels useless and behind the times, because his knowledge is all outdated. Many old/retired people like to keep up their skills, but needing to start over after technology has moved on is daunting.
Thu, Nov 18, 2021, 10:35pm (UTC -5)
For one thing, imagine if almost everyone you know is dead. That is what Scotty is experiencing.
But more than that, Scotty is a GREAT engineer. I am a sports photographer. I can only imagine how useless my skills would be if I stopped photography in the 90s and now that digital is here, I have no idea how to use a computer, load photos, use editing software, and the like. All I can do is go to a darkroom and develop film. I'd feel a proper waste!
I don't approve of his getting drunk, but I can understand his frustration
Mon, Dec 27, 2021, 8:21pm (UTC -5)
"I realized the writers were trying to make a point about the elderly: Scotty is a 'relic' as much as the abandoned Dyson sphere."
With the title "Relics," clearly the writers were making the episode about more than one relic. One, of course, is Captain Scott. I thought the other one was the Jenolen, not the Dyson Sphere. Maybe all three were supposed to be relics, but I’ve always thought the title referred to only two relics.
Sat, Apr 23, 2022, 12:12am (UTC -5)
Good episode, but would definitely like to have seen the Dyson sphere used more as a technological wonder than a contrived peril.
Sat, May 21, 2022, 1:57pm (UTC -5)
I hated T.O.S., having managed to watch only a few episodes (5-6?), but I'm familiar with its main characters, of whom Scotty (together with Spock) is my favorite. Goodness, I wish he would have had a chance to deliver him "I'm giving you all she's got, Captain!" line!!!
As far as Dyson Spheres, it's an absurd idea, not just due to the technical and technological challenges but because it presupposes the anachronistic notion that a civilization inevitably HAS to expand spatially. It doesn't. Even if we someday figure out F.T.L. mode of travel and overcome other obstacles immanent in interstellar travel, it is by no means a given that we will indeed undertake such travel or, for that matter, embark on an expansionist enterprise to disseminate our seed around the universe. What would be the ultimate purpose, regardless of whether the universe is finite or infinite? Eventually, the universe is going to die so, even if we colonize all of it, over the course of quintillion years, what's the use?
There are some hypotheses that we might instead adopt a microscopic existence and live in a black hole. Fanciful, maybe, but at one point we'll have to tackle the question: Why do we continue to exist?
Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 5:30pm (UTC -5)
"it is by no means a given that we will indeed undertake such travel or, for that matter, embark on an expansionist enterprise to disseminate our seed around the universe. [...] Eventually, the universe is going to die so, even if we colonize all of it, over the course of quintillion years, what's the use?"
Well, inside TNG's lore, it's explicitly stated to be fact by no less than Picard:
"Life on our world is driven to protect itself by seeding itself as widely as possible." (Justice)
In the real world, well that's an existential question. Why bother doing anything if we're all going to die anyway?
Probably the answer is because the most primal instinct of life is to survive and reproduce.
If human history on Earth is an indication, I absolutely believe if it became possible to populate other worlds, some people will do it.
The Dyson Sphere itself isn't so absurd if population continues to expand at the rate of the last couple centuries.
Wed, Sep 7, 2022, 4:10pm (UTC -5)
If the sphere had a terminal for ships to open the doors to get in, doesn't it stand to reason there would also be one inside they could use to open them and get out?
Fri, Sep 9, 2022, 3:25am (UTC -5)
The Dyson sphere idea was cool but the way they presented it was off. It looked like they were just orbiting a planet sized object but it should have appeared impossibly massive; at the distance they were from it there shouldn't have been a curved spherical object, it would have been a seemingly endless wall in every direction. Building something that massive just wouldn't be feasible no matter how advanced the civilization was. Wouldn't it take millions of years to build and where is all that material coming from? Plus imagine how hot it would get inside. Speaking of the inside felt way too small and cramped also. From the entrance the star should have been the same distance away as our sun, they certainly wouldn't have been in danger of being pulled into it in just a few minutes.
I can overlook all that though, this is a sci-fi show after all. However I hated the ending. It felt so rushed and weird; why are they throwing Scotty off the ship? I mean that's exactly what it feels like. He is telling Geordie that he wants to have a drink with him in ten forward and Geordie says "I have a better idea", takes him to the shuttle bay, and basically says here's a shuttle, get the hell out of here. After the awful way Geordie treated him for most of the episode I don't know how else you could take his "better idea" comment. What was the hurry; it really did feel like they were trying to get rid of him. Also why was Worf even there to see him off if he was just going to snub him like that?
Picard says they were only loaning him the shuttle since Scotty's ship was destroyed saving the Enterprise. Well um, Scotty didn't actually own the Jenlolan. Anyway why couldn't he stay on board the Enterprise and ride in comfort to the next Starbase or wherever? Instead they cram him into a tiny shuttlecraft all alone and ditch him in the middle of nowhere. Rude.
Fri, Sep 9, 2022, 11:36am (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 18, 2022, 7:06pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 18, 2022, 7:20pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Sep 19, 2022, 1:46am (UTC -5)
"Not to mention that when they get into the sphere Delta said they are 90mln kilometers away from the ionosphere"
If we are nitpicking then I guess you meant Photosphere (a star doesn't have an Ionosphere). ;)
"and when Scotty says keep the spehere open for them they said there will be there in 1minute and 46 seconds"
It is definitely oddly cut but Picard says set a course, then they cut back to the other ship. Between them setting course and the scene where they say 1 min and 46, 20 minutes could have gone by. The Enterprise has impulse which is a third to a quarter of light speed, depending on the show. :)
"HOW? where I missed them getting engnes back??"
Riker said that he would bring the engines back online. And what Riker says, Riker does.
You see?! It all makes perfect sense. The episodes are created that way. They are like poetry, they rhyme.
Mon, Sep 19, 2022, 4:14pm (UTC -5)
Booming, when Geordie spoke to Pickard they alredy where blocking the exit with their ship, and then pickard said to set the course (likenot to mention no one said the engines are ready or back and working) and it wasnt 20 minutes when they spoke as the other ship would be destroyed.. :D but anyway, just this below is enough to prove the scriptwriters had no idea about physics in StarTrek:
Let`s calculate the time and distance necessary to reach one quarter impulse speed: It would take almost two hours and... 1.6 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun! (not enough space in that sphere of 90mln kilometeres.
What about fuel?
To reach that speed that they would need 1.117x10*8 tonnes of deuterium.
That’s the same mass as 337 Empire State Buildings. The Enterprise only carries 9.3 metric tonnes of deuterium, so they’re a "little" short. lol
Fri, Oct 7, 2022, 4:21pm (UTC -5)
The technical issues never bothered me here because this was a story about Scotty with an interesting science fiction concept (Dyson sphere).
I loved the writing in this story because Scotty's weakness (being 75 years behind in technical knowledge) turned into strength in the end (even Geordi wouldn't understand 75 year old technology as well as Scotty).
So Picard's comment about how old people want to feel useful ends up foreshadowing the end of the episode: Scotty & Geordi save the day, each being essential in saving the Enterprise.
Wed, Nov 30, 2022, 11:36pm (UTC -5)
I kind of wish the Dyson Sphere had turned out to be inhabited. Could have made a more interesting background plot for the "real" story of the episode, Scotty coming to terms with his place in a new time. Perhaps there could have been a connection between the two stories, such as by having the society within the sphere grapple with the question of whether they wanted to encounter space beyond all they'd imagined having the opportunity to see, as Scotty grapples with what to do with his bonus time long after he had planned to be dead.
Thu, Dec 29, 2022, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
Here Scotty appears after being stuck in a transporter beam for 75 years and nobody seems to care.
Thu, Dec 29, 2022, 10:56pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 10, 2023, 9:05pm (UTC -5)
Indeed, I would say that the crew's attitude toward Scotty is rather like that of Millennials toward Boomers … and, for that matter, of Boomers toward "the Greatest Generation."
It is exactly the attitude millennials should expect to get from a generation not yet born.
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